I had a brief look at the Cooks Source website this morning and it was still there in a somewhat truncated version: the home-page was pretty much unchanged, but most of the other links had gone.
I just took another look, and all it contains now is a statement in which it claims Cooks Source has now paid a $130 donation to the Columbia School of Journalism, as Monica Gaudio requested when she first discovered that it had used her work without her permission–along with a discussion of what has happened over the last few days, and an outline of how Cooks Source intends to work in the future.
While realising the potential irony, I’m going to reproduce that statement in full here just in case it’s taken down. It’s not the apology I’d hoped Ms Griggs would issue: but it’s a start, and I hope that the internet bullying and abuse which Ms Griggs has been subject to will now cease.
For Food Lovers in Western New England
We cancelled our Facebook page on Thursday, November 4th, 2010 at 6:00PM. It has since been since been hacked by unknown parties; someone else unknown to us has control of it. Their inclusion of Cooks Source issues and photos is used without our knowledge or consent. Please know that none of the statements made by either Cooks Source or Judith Griggs were made by either our staff or her.
We do not, and never have had a Twitter page, so what is attributed as ours or our statements have nothing to do with Cooks Source or Judith Griggs.
We also cancelled our website on the above date, as our advertisers were listed therein, and with the harassment that has taken place on Facebook, we felt was unsafe for them.
Cooks Source will not be on Facebook again at any time in the future, hacking is too prevalent and apparently easy performed by disreputable people. The email and Facebook abuse of our advertisers is the prime example: it is hurtful to people who are innocent of this issue, and can ill-afford the abuse. Small business owners are being bombarded with hate mail, and distasteful messages because someone downloaded their contact information on these sites. These small business owners work very hard to keep their businesses going in a bad economy. We respectfully request this harassment be stopped immediately. If you or anyone knows of this abuse, you should go to the bogus Cooks Source (or other bogus pages) Facebook page, look to the left side of the page and press “Report Abuse,” or else go to How to Report Claims of Intellectual Property Infringement, http://www.facebook.com/legal/copyright.php The Facebook Corporate phone number is 650-543-4800, which will assist interested parties who feels these snipers perpetuating hate have gotten out of hand and want to report it. Interestingly, this phone number and any other contact info is not listed on the Facebook site, and has taken four people a number of days to track down.
Last month an article, “American as Apple Pie — Isn’t,” was placed in error in Cooks Source, without the approval of the writer, Monica Gaudio. We sincerely wish to apologize to her for this error. We have made a donation at her request, to her chosen institution, the Columbia School of Journalism. In addition, a donation the Western New England Food Bank, is being made in her name. It should be noted that Monica was given clear credit for using her article within the publication, and has been paid as she has requested to be paid.
This issue has made certain changes here at Cooks Source. Starting with this issue, we will now list all sources. Also we now request that all the articles and informational pieces will have been made with written consent of the writers, the book publishers and/or their agents or distributors. All submission authors will have emailed, and/or signed a release form for this material to Cooks Source and as such approval of its inclusion. Email submissions are considered consent, with a verbal follow-up. Recipes created in the Cooks Source Kitchen are owned by Cooks Source and as such approval is made for chefs and cooks in our area to use them. Artwork used is created by our staff, or is royalty-free or purchased “clip-art.”
However: Cooks Source can not vouch for all the writers we have used in the past, and in the future can only check to a certain extent. Therefore, we will no longer accept unrequested articles, nor will we work with writers or illustrators unless they can prove they are reputable people, provide their sources, and who, in our estimation, we feel our readers and advertisers can trust and rely on for accuracy and originality. All sources will be listed with the articles, along with the permission, where necessary.
Cooks Source’s is a small, free, local food newspaper-type magazine (called ‘magazine’ because it doesn’t generally include what is known as ‘news,’) whose mission statement is to assist small businesses and farms in our area and help readers learn about sustainable food issues. We promote small businesses and farms in our area, offer recipes because our readers request them, and because we are offered cookbooks and excerpts from distributors, publicists, agents and authors so as to help them promote these works. Cooks Source is so named because it reports on the sources: the farms, and the foodie producers and purveyors for the cooks and chefs in our area.
The misuse of Facebook discussed above also applies to Ms. Gaudio: she did what she felt was the right thing, and doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment, either. Regardless of what has been said, we liked her article very much.
By all means discuss this statement in the comments here: but do not venture into libel or abuse. I will not hesitate to edit, disemvowel or delete all comments which, in my opinion, cross the boundaries of respect and decent behaviour, regardless of who leaves them.
Meanwhile, John Scalzi has posted a useful analysis of Cooks Source’s statement which he summarises with this:
I give this apology a D+. It’s the apology of someone who is sorry she got caught, not the apology of someone who feels she has done wrong. And, well. She did do wrong, and she should have done better.